The Duterte government has made a commitment to release around P2 billion to typhoon-devastated areas in the Visayas and Mindanao to help them recover from the onslaught of Typhoon Odette this week.
“I can release more or less 2 billion. So this amount will be divided among all the areas that were hit by the typhoon. We’ll see if we can release it sooner, I can promise you this,” President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said during a situation briefing in Maasin City in Southern Leyte aired Sunday morning.
“It’s worth billions but it’s not actually enough to cover the devastation. If you were to give help to everyone in one area and make reparations for the damage, that amount won’t suffice. But with that amount, you can divide it amongst yourselves.”
Local governments in hardest hit areas can initially use the amount for their needs and address other damages later, according to the President.
President Duterte also promised the people that the assistance from the national government will arrive, but he asked for patience as his administration readies the release of government aid.
“Just give us a bit more time because if you’re from the government, there’ll be plenty of paperwork,” he said. “For every move you make, there’s a layer of papers that are… This is the way it is with government. And if you try to rush things, there’ll be some problems.”
Furthermore, there’s not much allocation left since it’s the end of the year and a huge part of government’s savings was spent for COVID-19 interventions, he explained, adding he has called for a meeting with the budget officials to discuss the issue.
Aside from meeting Leyte officials to assess the damage and discuss the necessary interventions, President Duterte also led the distribution of relief packages and cash assistance to typhoon-affected individuals in the province.
Typhoon Odette is considered one of the strongest tropical cyclones to hit Southern Leyte this year. The typhoon made its third landfall in the province last Thursday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 195kph (kilometer per hour) and gustiness of up to 270kph.
President Duterte also met with the local government officials of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands in Siargao City to assess the typhoon’s impact in the province and see what support can be extended by the national government.
The weather disturbance caused massive flooding in different provinces across Mindanao and Visayas, affecting thousands of families and individuals, as well as heavily damaging key infrastructures in its path. PND